Review Price £349.25
Sony Ericsson X10 mini - Camera, Screen and Interface
Glorious probably isn't the word you'd use to describe the shots that this phone produces however: acceptable, adequate, decent are all more appropriate. Performance of the camera app is also okay, so you won't have any frustrating waits as the app loads, focuses, and then has a think before actually taking the photo.
Looking a bit more closely at this phone's screen, it measures just 2.55in from corner to corner, which to be precise is just 40mm wide by 53mm tall. Its 240 x 320 resolution is also very low – the same as the much larger "small Android phone" the HTC Wildfire. On a screen this size that resolution actually looks quite sharp, though obviously once you're browsing the web or trying to play games the limited screen real estate is immediately apparent. Unlike large smartphones, many of which can display web pages quite comfortably, on the X10 mini you generally have to zoom in until only a third of the page's width is displayed before text is readable.
However, far from being a maddening experience, thanks to the inbuilt web browser on Android being so good and the phone being reasonably snappy, you can quite happily scroll around a page in double-quick time and get all the info you need. Also, as large blocks of text are made to fit the width of the screen, you're saved from too much right-to-left scrolling. However, Flash isn't supported and the screen doesn't support multi-touch (despite using capacitive touch sensing) so you can't pinch-to-zoom.
As for the general quality of the screen, it has decent viewing angles and colour reproduction, but its maximum brightness is fairly low so you might struggle in bright sunlight.
The X10 mini uses the 1.6 version of the Android operating system, which is someway behind the latest 2.2 version and combined with the low resolution screen will mean many apps on the Android MarketPlace aren't compatible (though most of the basics are). As such you don't get exchange email support, live wallpapers, USB tethering, as well as a whole host of speed and UI tweaks. However, given this phone's size and some heavy customisation by SE, many of these improvements would have been of limited benefit.
Instead of multiple desktops that you can fill with widgets and shortcuts, the X10 mini only allows you to add a single widget to each desktop and there are just four fixed shortcuts in each corner of the screen. By default these link to messages, dialer, contacts, and music player but, as with the widgets, you can customise these to link to whatever apps you want.
To access the rest of the phone's apps you must open the main menu, which can be done either by pressing the home button or swiping upwards when on the desktop. Nine items are displayed on each page of the main menu and you can scroll left and right to access more pages.
It all sounds a little complicated and limiting, but in practice it works quite well. That said, we perhaps would've preferred the ability to add just a few more shortcuts to the home screen, rather than just four.
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